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tv   Ret. Gen. Joseph Votel Others on Middle East Strategy  CSPAN  October 10, 2019 12:30pm-2:10pm EDT

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ability to protect the public from criminal threats is rapidly deteriorating. the status quo is exceptionally dangerous, unacceptable, and only getting worse. it is time for us to stop debating whether to address it, and start talking about how to address it. thank you very much. [applause] >> good afternoon. retired general joseph votel former command of central command joins a discussion on your security operations in the middle east. live coverage here on c-span2. >> examining centcom approach to the middle east. today's event gives us the opportunity to reflect on the buy with and through approach and explore prospects for an effective u.s. military role in the region, especially given
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current news from northeast syria. we have great panel of experts to discuss this with you today. ken pollack, dana stroul and we're also pleased to welcome back in the eye senior fellow and director of the defense and security program bilal saab after a one-year fellowship in the department of defense. we are happy to have him back and look forward to hearing his insights from his upcoming article in the 2019 fall issue of the washington quarterly entitled "broken partnerships: can washington get security cooperation right?." moderating today's panel of the six experts is eric schmitt. eric is a writer covering terrorism and national security for the "new york times." since 2007 he has reported on terrorism issues with assignments to pakistan,
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afghanistan, north africa, southeast asia, among others. he is a co-author of counterstrike, the untold story of america's secret campaign against al-qaeda. published in 2011. before joining the times, eric was an education reporter at the tri-city herald in kennewick washington. he's come a long way. from september 1982 until september 1983. eric will introduce the other distinguished members of today's panel but before he begins i would like to remind you to silence your mobile devices. the broadcast for the panel discussion today is being covered by c-span2, fox and cnn but we do welcome you to join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag mei security. with that i will turn over to eric schmitt. >> thanks so much. thank you all for coming today. just want to briefly introduce our panels today before you get
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into our discussion, kind starting on the left -- farlow, dana stroul preconcert azucena professional staff member on the senate foreign relations committee where she covered the middle east. on her right general joseph votel come distinguished fellow at mei. most of you probably know him as former command of central command and special operations command. general votel is right, ken pollack, , resident scholar at e american enterprise institute. he served as a cia and had stints in the national security council under president bill clinton picky covered the middle east and in particular iran and director find a left bilal saab is a senior fellow and director of the defense and security program here at mei and preconcert azucena advisor for security cooperation of the pentagon's office of the secretary of defense for policy with responsibilities for centcom. what we're going to do today is
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have discussion, starting with each of the speakers, talk for about ten minutes ago asked each question or two as it will throw it open to you all for discussion towards the end but right now think we'll start with ken to give us a kickoff where we stand unless they give it much, eric. thank all of you. it's wonderful to be with my distinct with colleagues. it's nice to be back at mei but in the fabulous new building. so i guess there are a lot of different dimensions to this problem. my job is to start out by talking about i think the substantive issue the truth at the root of everything, and it's an issue that is moment everyone in this room, but it's when we don't like to talk about a whole lot. i do but most people don't. and that is the fundamental problem that our allies do not have the capacity to defend themselves against their primary threats. that's where it all starts for us. that's in driven home in recent
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weeks and in recent months and in recent years by any number of developments across the middle east. i think the investment of americans would love it if our arab allies were better able to defend themselves i decided we could leave the region altogether or for those who recognize at there may be reasons we would need to stay want to see any way at the very least so they could do more for themselves and we didn't have to do so much for them. there are a lot of different reasons why this is a problem. i could talk about them in a new book, "armies of sand," something i discussed figuratively in this space a number of months ago. i'm not going to go into the full description here. that's not the point you. simply to say, the reasons arab militaries have had such difficulty with conventional military operations over the last 70 years, why they continue such difficulty today and why they're likely to in the near
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future is rooted in some very large problems that are not going to be easily or quickly fixed. they are rooted in the politics, economics, the culture, the educational practices of the arab world. none of that is going to be changed very quickly. but that doesn't mean that the arab militaries are hopeless. and i think one of the important things to think about when we think about this new concept of by, with, and through is that it's both of virtue and a necessity. the truth is we might not have one to fight this way. i know when our military commanders were first confronted with the problem of daish, isis coming back into iraq and taking over so much territory in syria, it isn't necessarily the way they would've liked to have fought that war if they could've had their druthers. but they didn't have a choice. that was what was available to them, and they made a virtue out of necessity and i think there
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are some important things to take away from it and things are valuable to think about in their own rights. because truth of metal about arab militaries do a tremendous difficulty with modern conventional warfare, they are not hapless. there are things that can be done. there are workarounds, ways to tailor their forces, ways to approach military operations that have allowed them greater success in the past. and what the by, with, and through approach did was forced our commanders, particularly my friend sean macfarland, really was wrestling with this in 2015 and iraq and a thick was really the guy who kind of figured out how to do this and set the stage, created a model that were using elsewhere and he realized some things that are true or arab militaries across the board and have been for the last 70 years. when they form small elite
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forces, they tend to do better. when you can create kind of a military subculture the way the jordanians did back in the threats of force, the way i would argue a uae is doing today, that also stands them in good stead. when they can rely on someone else's firepower and act as an adjunct to it, they could do better when they can do static operations set piece operations, they can do better. there are ways to do this that can take advantage of some of the skills that are there in arab militaries. as i said, i think by necessity having to do by, with, and through, the fact we had a leadership back year that did not want to simply put an american heavy division down in the middle of the desert and wipe out daesh by itself, which was something that point people were talking about at the time. i think me in a military would've of loved to been able to do that because it would be
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the easy answer. that would've been a way to defeat isis, destroy it really quickly and easily but it wasn't politically possible. so instead they had to adopt by, with, and through method. they had to go to the iraqis and secondarily to the syrians and say okay, we can't do it for you, you guys are quite the do-it-yourself ear we can provide you with a great deal of assistance but the end of the day it's going to be an iraqi and syrian combat troops who are going to need to take the fight. we've got to figure out ways to train up more effective iraq and syrian forces, and provide them with a combat enablers that will make them successful put them in situations where they can be successful. that's the heart of by, with, and through. as i said, that was a necessity for the political restrictions placed on those people trying to implement the mission. but i think it does speak to
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deeper truths that there are better ways to do this. that there are ways to think about how we train, , how we hep train our arab allies that will allow them to do better than they've done in the past. it starts with the recognition those armies are not like our own. again this is something i talk about a great link in my book and when i say it will sound really obvious but the truth is we haven't really respected the last 70 years, which is that the average arab 18-year-old boy really isn't like the average american 18-year-old boy or girl. and trying to train in arab boy the way you would train an amen boy or girl, it's not going to work, right? it just isn't. they are not the same at cells. they don't come from the same society. they don't think about things the same way that we do. they have different strengths and weaknesses.
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and, of course, hours -- the russian did the same thing, the british did the same thing, the french did the same thing. we all assumed our system is simply write and it's right for everyone. when you go in there and tried to train someone on a system that isn't properly advise, probably adapted for their society, it doesn't work well. we find all around the world militaries that do best are the ones who take someone else's system or build your own come with the take someone else's system, the adapted to their own society, , to their own circumstances. and again by, with, and through forced us to do the same exact thing for the iraqis and to lesser extent for the syrian opposition. now, moving forward, that does set up at least a temporary model for how we move forward until you could have deeper, societal change. societal change whichever industry knows all of the arab leader would like to see happen
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although they are very nervous about actually trying to implement. but into it and get longer-term there are absolutely things that can be done. the big issues there bring us back to politics. both here and in the arab world. it requires going to the arab leaders and saying, we are not going to give you the same training that we give to american troops because honestly, it's not right for your forces. instead, we are going to tailor something else that is right for your forces. that's very hard for leaders who want the best and believe whatever the americans give their own troops has got to be the best, so i want the best so i want that. that's also hard accu in washington because when they pay us to give them the best training, by god, we're going to give them the best training, and that's how we train our own troops. so the political battles, they are a big part of getting us to the point where we can deal with these other set of issues.
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that money to overdo general votel come baby can straighten out the 30,000-foot level for all of us. >> before that when they ask about iraq. without it uptick in violence in the last week or so and wanted to get, easy to be more specific when you talk about this model the indigo. what are the two or three takeaways that you think have been learned successfully and maybe haven't been for successfully given the amount of time used military has been and are back over the last two decades? >> that's a a great question, mark. in terms of the takeaways that i think we've learned or at least parts of the united states have learned, it's not clear if the whole u.s. government has learned it. again i think there are things we hit upon during the course of by, with, and through. so recognizing the iraqi cts, a small elite force of soldiers really good within some degree of combat capability of these are guys with a certain amount
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of unit cohesion with advance against fire, to do some very, very basic fire and maneuver but enough so they could clear a foe that was tough not superhuman. under circumstances where a lot of american support. that was very important, recognizing cts was critical. recognizing we had to rebuild the iraqi command structure. during the surge we had to build more or less a a new iraq you military command. nuri balaji had destroyed after we pulled out in 2011. medical back and rebuild it to create a politically command control circumstances to do what we needed to do. given the iraqis ownership of it, letting them feel like they were the ones responsible, given in the sense of pride can build up a sense of national self-esteem was also very important one and then there's also this issue of kind of picking out the right missions. not putting these guys in positions where they have to do
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kind of big free-flowing unscripted maneuver battles. that's not what even the iraqis cts is capable doing but you put in in the right circumstances, set operations, limited offenses, lots of american enablers and it really could do fine. those of the things we want to take away that again i think u.s. military certainly recognizes that is the way forward. that's the model for other militaries and when you did forget how we help of the militaries get to that. the thing we didn't learn, that's obvious, right? the military peace of any of these wars is about 10% of actually solving that the other 90% is political and diplomatic, economic which we once again have blindly go to once again iraq is teetering on the brink of yet another conflict as a result. >> that's great. i wanted to use that to kind of give it to general votel because general, the merck in public is going to go on a crash course as weak with by, with, and through
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in northeastern syria and airy r you know quite well and obviously the turkish offensive is carried out started yesterday after president trump seemingly green lit this operation after phone call and send with president erdogan. you are quite critical in an op-ed you wrote yesterday in the atlantic. tell us more about your experience, what you draw from this. >> it's great to be here. great set up. let me start big and then we will get to the area that eric just talked about. in the current national defense strategy released back in 2010 it was articulated our principal priority was maintaining competitive events against great powers. also, a key precept within that, however, was the importance of partnership, especially in those areas where we will have to exercise dichotomy of u.s. monetary resources and present on the ground.
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there's a very strong beliefs, i currently subscribe to this, i've always subscribe to this, the strong partnership can act as an indicator in fact, in these areas which is except some risk but we also retain important national security interests. what i'm trying to convey here is partnership is a part of our overall approach, and we have and we have had a lot of tools in the past to deal with this. we have things like security force assistance. this is unified action across our government to help a country develop their own security apparatus to answer to the people and to the government. you can think of this as anyone of our very well-established security cooperation offices out there that work in conjunction with combatant commands to kind of address the security requirements of our partners out there. in the special operations world,
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particularly in the sf world, special forces can things like internal defense for and these are our specific military activities to support a a fairy come against an internal threat. there's a variety of different examples around here. in my experience i would think we actually tried to do this in yemen in 2011-2013, when we were assisting the government of yemen deal with al-qaeda who was actually trying to control ground that in the southern part of the country and we worked with them to address the specific threat vectors of the things i can conventional warfare. again, a bit of a confusing term but important concept and it's the opposite approach. that is where we support a resistance movement or an insurgency against an occupying power, adversary government, you know, there's a number of examples of this and i think perhaps one of the best ones is our support for the mujahedin in
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afghanistan during the soviet invasion. and i would say that our operations in afghanistan right after 2001 had this flavor, especially in the north where we had special forces teams working very closely with the northern alliance to accomplish military objectives. against the seemingly taliban government that was in place. but complement this approach is this idea by, with, and through, and think what by, with, and through represents is kind of where the rubber meets the road, is how we actually estimate some of these ideas on the ground. and i think it's important, and we talked a lot about this in my time at centcom to try to define what by, with, and through actually means. each of those words kind of sounds the same but the they ry in my might mean something different. by implies these are activities conducted by him largely by our partners on the ground, whether
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they are state forces of whether their indigenous partners. with means with our enabling capabilities and vice that we are bringing something to them to help them, , help them moving forward. and then through i think through refers to the idea of authorities, approvals, agreements, expectations that are established. one of the things we were able to do with the syrian democratic forces as we worked with them over a number of months and, in fact, years, was really established red lines, things that we were not going to support. we were not going to support any efforts to unite the kurdish cantons. we're not going to go to africa after the kurdish incursion. these are the types of expectations that i'm kind of talking about, form the background about this approach actual plays out on the ground. there are some disadvantages to
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this approach. it's important to recognize what that is. parker set the pace in this period that could be an advantage but in those cases we are going to be beholden to the things, a pace at which they are doing things and they may not be moving as fast or as dry grass we want to and so they will set the pace. they may not do things the same way that we would do, and i don't mean ethically or legally. that's an impaired upfront, operating in accordance with the rule of law and a lot of our armed conflict, that's very clear upfront and that's one of those expectations through which we are providing the support. but you know, the deeper we got into the euphrates valley over the last five or six months of the campaign, the more we saw the syrian democratic forces, particularly the arab elements, stopping operations, trying to negotiate, so to speak, with isis to minimize impact on the
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villages, minimize impact on civilians. i don't think anybody can't argue with that but we were very, very concerned about how we maintain the momentum against this force, we didn't want to let them get away to fight another day in terms of this. they will not do the things the way we always do. and i think we have a risk with this, , certainly as registering this week. we've always known that there was a risk with our approach with turkey, and that is a risk that we've owned with this approach. but there are some advantages and ken touched on a couple. and minimize footprint and minimizes our portion of this, our tactical risk. you've seen the number of things this week about the number of casualties the syrian democratic force absorb versus what the coalition to. i can cut all ties with a horrific no doubt but i think you get my point here. when you can minimize your
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footprint, and a miser operational risk, there is a certain political advantage to that. another advantage is the partners on the outcome in this thing. one of the most prolific pictures that i use and a lot of the presentations and discussions i do us a picture of the iraqi leadership in mosul after the completion operations of that. it seems quite pointed and it's all iraqis from all the different flavors of the forces surrounding the prime minister and other members of the government raising their own flag and praising their own people for this. this is a really important aspect, then only does afterwards. as we completed operations in syria, what we often saw was our local partners beginning to set up local security and local governance. this is an incredibly important aspect. we can advise on that but when they're doing is to actually own it.
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and this can be effective without this institution building aspect of partnership. we did not try to reorganize the syrian, the ypg or the arab militias that ultimately made up the syrian democratic forces. we took them as they were. not only in iraq, we had to do a little bit of rebuilding of the army, in the beginning sean macfarland when his predecessors or successes were very key to this comment that was an important step we had to take. once that is accomplished, then we are not really focus on the institution, really focused on helping them be successful. let me just talk just a little bit more about the syrian democratic forces and i think that's a pertinent relative except where to talk a bit about it in some detail. you know how the start of your is start with ypg, literally pushed up against the border because of isis, and trying to
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fight literally to save their lives. we became aware of this for some of her of the context in the region and the authorities and discussion that took place and the significant discussion international security process throughout all all of this. we made the determination we would provide some level of our support to help them, help protect them, help them break out of this. what we saw was there were very successful at this. they make very good use of this. it really true on the innovativeness of our people to the ways to communicate with them, non-traditional ways, not highly technical from our standpoint but leveraging the internet, leveraging application can leveraging cell phones, all those type of things to do that. we saw success and resolve them begin to break up if we had discussions about maybe we should be people on the ground to see if we can enhance their successes and move through and we did. we began to expand our text even
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more with them in terms of, again, the whole time this is taking place their discussions about the national security council level and authorities and approvals being asked down to us to do these things along the way we added a trainer capacity so as they brought forth recruiter, brought people in, they had a mechanism to bring them up to a level. we added equipment provision in here. again, significant policy discussions associate with that. we started with the air component and eventually came to realize we also had to get some limited equipping to the kurdish portions of this, of the organization because they essentially the backbone. they became very important in places like raqqa and of the places where we are fighting. along the way we expanded our neighbors do we start out with just isr in drones, but eventually we had artillery.
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we had attack helicopters, other and it was brought on the ground to do this and were able to expand it out. and then of course we started integrating other elements of our power. the very small u.s. aid start teams on the ground. i refer to this as "the magnificent seven." seven people, that's all it was, a were great and the moved in conjunction with us and they did a lot of great work comp omitting the things we were doing. this is an example of how starting with this by, with, and through concept we were actually able to move forward to accomplish a for significant military of liberating the caliphate. really through using this by, with, and through approach, and that's why it's been my opinion and it does remain my pains today that this is a good model that we ought to look at. every situation is different. you've seen one situation, you've seen one situation you have to look at, we can't
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blindly apply this in other places. we have to be smart. our people are smart and they can help us with that. but i would just closed by telling you that from my perspective, the success of this approach really came down to three things, and were really important. first and foremost was building on the external, or building on the strength and the capabilities of the organization that we had and not try to re-create the inner own image. we did not try to reach into the spf and reorganize accardi portion of it and the arab militias were completely different design. different level of leadership,, different level of capability but we didn't -- what we try to do is leverage what we had and try to optimize that. i think that was a good approach in this situation. second of all, we built very strong multi-echelon relationships at . at all levels, my lover, several
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of us talking to the general to about this but we also have this about the formation. it wasn't just military. it was ambassador jeffrey, ambassador roebuck, others, were key to this, helping develop the relationship that was important because that build trust and that allowed us to overcome a number of very difficult periods that we had and to move forward to those, whether that was hey, we're not going to come there's been an incursion and were not when to go there, and working to that. or the decision made in december as we kind of work do that. and then i think the final thing was the constant medication aspect of this. we talked with them all the time and we often talk about expectations and we try to make it very, very clear the things we would do and as informing the things we would not do. and this was i think very, very
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important and think to think wa partner who understood that and was able to work within those constraints we had. i think i'll close there and in no event more discussion on this. thank you want to. >> general, i wanted to follow because when you talk allies we talked about these different programs by, with, and through whether afghans are yemenis for iraqis but there seems to be almost much more emotional attachment here with the kurds. .. you can talk about what it's like since you've been there, tell us what it's like on the ground.
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what are they doing day-to-day ? there forming bonds so hard to break and it must be difficult for many of your former colleagues on the ground to step back and watch this happen >> i think that is an aspect of it and it's a strength of our specialoperations force and a strength of all our forces , especially special operations we really do try to buy into our partners. we tried to share in the danger of what is going on. as these operations are taking place we have advisors that are in locations where they are sharing danger . we're helping them work through this . they share meals with them, they live with them. we help them with evacuation of their casualties. when they mourn, we mourn with them so this is a natural human interaction taking place so there does become a level of closeness
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to these partners. i think what was unique in this case and as i mentioned if you've seen one partnership, you've seen one partnership so you have to look at each one on its own merits but in this case it was our experience that , certainly my experience that democratic forces represent i think a high end art are here and in terms of their ability to work with us, to accept the expectations and redlines that we have to and basically to put their trust in us as we pursue this campaign, i think you're seeing some of that play out right now in some of the emotion that unfortunately does come with this and i think that's a natural human interaction and our soldiers , special operations or conventional feel this for their partners. >> you come from the perspective of a researcher but your inside the beast of the pentagon. what lessons do you come away with, what surprised you and let's talkabout your
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experience as a going forward in this larger issue . >> there are open seats in the front if you'd like to take them. so you've got a sense from general votel of some of the problems we encounter in the region with our partners but there are also challenges we face here in washington. as far as the bureaucracy, and how that functions or malfunctions . my view is the major element of cooperation is internal to us. despite all the problems that you've heard about the partners themselves , there's a lot of issues that we have to face right here in washington to get this right. this large and exponentially growing enterprise is malfunctioning because our house is in great disorder. the foreign-policy starts at home, so does security cooperation . you can have the most
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proficient american trainers on the ground. they can educate our partners on the best doctors. they can hand out the best manuals. they can form the closest bonds. kurds or otherwise. and all of that really would matter little if the bureaucracy here is supposed to create, supervise, sustain all this is malfunctioning. and you can expect poor results if it is not functioning and that's what's been going on. for quite some time. now course, there are always exceptions. we can get lucky with a few partnerships that i'm sure you have in mind one or two that helped support relatively well but these are not the norm. these are exceptions. i can think of the lebanese armed forces as an example of that . i'm sure general feels very much familiar with. that's a success story relatively speaking but there are not many like that.
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my bottom line is this. we do not have yet a reliable and sustainable system for security cooperation here in washington. between the us government and i'd say that differently but it's the same thing. we do not have the proper organization and effective leadership to actually conduct thissuccessfully . and it comes down really to, my apologies. and really it comes down to basics year. which is leadership, and organization. two fundamental variables that seem to be lacking in the us government with regard to securitycooperation . let me say a couple words about eachand what i mean by each . by leadership i specifically refer to a robust endorsement
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of the security cooperation reforms congress came up with in december 2016. which ended up getting published in the 2017 national defense authorization act and the a. in large partthanks to john mccain and his staff . but not just endorsements, but also serious consistent supervision, oversight over the execution of those reforms. it's one thing to come up with reforms, it's another altogether to oversee the execution of those reforms. that's what i mean by leadership and certainly it's lacking in that regard. organization. if leadership is lacking you can expect logically organization will also fall short because leadership creates the bureaucracy, leadership creates the organization, organizational setup and that's been lacking . despite reforms, congress in 2016 which included many
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things. one of them is in terms of organization, it can create an office in the pentagonthat is dedicated 24 seven to student cooperation . and it's defined a single official to oversee this enterprise, a deputy secretary of defense. working on the direction of the undersecretary. that is certainly not enough. and we have a tendency in this country to try to solve problems. we over litigate and over your locker ties. we did it consistently throughout history, specifically after 9/11 the patriot act, homeland security, office of director of national intelligence . as if that weren't enough. same thing with security cooperation so we created a new office, we even created a new one from china as though that's going to be sufficient to meet the priority at the general mentioned regarding competing with china and russia. i'll give you a football analogy .
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it's like a losing football team that just fired its head coach and they hired a new coach when all along, the problem has been general management, ownership and culture. yes, i'm looking at you washington redskins. new coach is not going to cut it. there's going to be massive control changes toget this right . one of the reforms because those are important. what are the just of the reforms congress came up with because i believe there is game changers. the most important aspect of the reforms is that we would no longer throw money and hardware at our partners and expect them all of a sudden tobecome better warriors and more accountable warriors . that is at least what it says on paper. we are now required by law to help them do some of the things that the general just mentioned. institutional capacity building, fancy word for the
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institutions for defense. as in the software of defense, not just the hardware. we don't do that consistently . maybe with one or two of the partners because the condition somehow permitted us to do that but overall we just don't have a record of doing that successfully. for also the reasons. now we are required by law, congress has had enough of us not doing that and having all those results and all those weapons and up in the wrong hands. that is as a result at least partly of our failure to invest insolutions . >> let me sum up the organizational problems in a couple of words . the ones that we face in washington, too many cooks in the kitchen. not just toomany cooks in the kitchen, much worse," are not talking to each other . they havedifferent recipes ,
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they fight over money, jurisdiction, authorities and to keep the kitchen analogy, that's a recipe for disaster and the biggest schism is between the department of defense and department of state . that eternal battle over who owns what, who has the authority to do what, who has a bigger budget, who has jurisdiction over what is an ongoing problem and i realize it's like dreams get to department store together. it did work much better during the cold war but that was a long timeto get close to to work more closely and to do joint planning on security cooperation and assistance, this is going to require leadership . and depending on the arrow, depending on the ministration sometimes it works better than other places. but if the chemistry between the two secretaries, a working relationship between the two are not optimal, none of this is going to happen. another organizational handicap if you want to call
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it is between this office of cooperation that i mentioned and this state which is the sda, defense security cooperation agency house outside thepentagon building . this is a big organization, very large organization, they do tremendous work area they perfected the art of processing equipment releases and arms sales but guess what? security cooperation is not just about arms sales. security cooperation is much more than arms sales, it has to do with institutional capacity building and all of a sudden theresponsibility rests with staffers which is never done before . so is this going to be a learning curve, a steep one? absolutely. this is not going to happen overnight buti am of the view is not going to be popular with my friends at the sda, this is not the place to do it .
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the sda is not a place to take on the mantle but with all the staff they brought over from the institute based in monterey, they brought in some people. this is not the place for it. i don't know what is but certainly another civilian office whether it's in the pentagon or state department, enclosing and this may not talk about congress but i cannot leave without a brief comment about congress because they play such a leadership role in at least coming up with it. that's step one but what i want to say about congress is just like other senior leadership in the executive branch, you have to insist on accountability . it's one thing to issue the guidance, another altogether to supervise it and make sure all the stakeholders that are part of this enterprise are doing their job and what you expect them to do. so hold more hearings, closed and open. ask the tough questions. what is the desired entry of this quote computer cooperation program? how much more can this partner absorb? how does this program affect
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the national interest? does it serve the us national interest? all of these questions have been asked somewhat in some way, certainly not consistently and without accountability and i'm not just talking about cutting budgets or making deeper budget cuts. it is consistent oversight of this issue because the american public is expecting. this is now a new environment in washington. i'm sort has more to say about congress but i'm going to stop here. >> let's go right to dana and talk about what congress's role and the absence of real leaders in this oversight, people like john mccain who was famous for giving policymakers and commanders a crashing up there. let's get your take on this. >> i'm going to take a step even further back than the other speakers and talk about the general reason when the executive branch is making the case to congress for a
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certain programs or certain funding, why do we have security cooperation. the first one and we've been doing this 60 years area and so the explanations and the justification for doing security cooperation and all of the activities and programs and colors of money that come under that umbrella , here are three that i like to propose. the first one is to build institutional ties and gain access area and so reinforced government to government, military relationships that can be used both in peacetime and leveraged in wartime so constantly when you're on the hill and you're talking about why a program maybe it was working before but it's not working now, why should we continue this program. a lot of times the responses who else are we going to call in a crisis and a good example is egypt.
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in 2011 and 2012 because of the extent of history of foreign military funding for the egyptian military, those were the most developed relationships the us government had and they were the ones the us government fell back on when we needed to talk to people in cairo and talk about what was going on so touch points , connective tissue. part of all the security cooperations and you've heard all these different acronyms and programs we have and thoseare only a fraction of the number of authorities and programs we have to must develop these institutional guides . number two, to improve the capabilities of our partners though this notion of interoperability in wartime so that our equipment can talk to each other so our militaries know where in the hierarchies to coordinate . within a system of alliances and partnerships though the idea is to extend and protect us influence through this network. it can't just be about us, there have to be capabilities on the other side. people and military professionals and civilians hopefully in the defense context who can talk to us,
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understand language we're talking. we can understand the language there speaking and coordinate to respond to shared crisis. and the counterterrorism and hisnotion of building partner capacity which obviously expanded very much after 9/11. the idea of improving the capabilities of partners to help conduct counterterrorism missions with us and on their own . assuming we share the same goals. and here, the notion and actually president obama in the previous administration gave an entire speech about this at national defense university and he talked about the security cooperation now , provides more options in the future for partner militaries and partner forces so that we don't have to use our own military tools first and the notion that building partner capacity so that we have to capable and effective partners abroad is cost effective for the american taxpayer so these are some of the debates and discussions that take place on capitol hill. over the past several years, specifically the system of
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authorities and programs and funding sources has exponentially expanded and so this is what the law talked about. i want to talk about two core tensions in our congress conducts oversight or attempts to conduct oversight of our security cooperation and building partnership capacity. the first one is the department versus defense department and so congress is interested in authorities and money. it both authorizes programs and activities and it providesappropriations for thoseprograms and activities . state department overtime , it pulls funding for these programs and activities has remained static. the pool of money, the number of programs is not expanding and those tools are inflexible because of the two-year physical planning cycle so now state department is talking about how it's going to fun thingsto or three years in advance.does anyone know what the world is going to look like two or three years from now and what contingencies we may need to respond to ? examples of state department funding which you all probably have heard.
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at nf, foreign military funding. most of fmf boasts of four recipients: israel, egypt, jordan and iraq. that leaves a small slice of the pie for the rest of the world and because that pool is not expanding, usually we turn the dod who has all sorts of additional ions and every year congress has a contingency operating fund and dod as much more flexible authorities to respond to these crisis because of a pool of state department funding not expanding. a law talked about foreign military sales and commercial sales, these come under the state department but the authority and the legislation litigating these sorts of programs hasn't been updated in years. finally another one that i wanted to touch upon his international military education and training. this is where we pay to bring
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foreign officers into american military colleges which is a great program but again, the pool of money for these kind of programs is not expanding on the state department side. in contrast dod's budget has grown especially for contingencies but there was an expanding patchwork of authorities, a special program every time there was a new crisis somewhere in the world and this led to the fy 17 national defense authorization act reform. it was an attempt to take about based on your definition of what a program is, 80 to 100 different security cooperation programs , all under the department of defense authority, attempt to streamline them, standardize metrics for effectiveness and evaluation. transparency and oversight and bring some comedy to the kind of funding and how we measure fiscal year to fiscal year which countries and whichprograms are receiving what money to accomplish what . so i want to give you an example of how this works in real life . when you're onthe hill , and either the state department
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or the defense department wants to secure funding for approval for a specific program, they send a proposal to the hill called the congressional notification . so if you're on a committee that has oversight over the state department, you may have questions about it and if it's something you think state department is funding or for the international military education or foreign military sale, that those either the senate foreign relations committee or house foreign affairs committee . that means it doesn't go to the armed services committee on the senate or the house side who has a much larger budget and much bigger programs and are much more flexible in how they can spend that money . so if it's funding under the nda aid that the law talked about or any of these other programs, those congressional notifications go to the senate armed services committee which means on any given day if you're a staffer looking at what the state department is doing, you
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don't see it all what's happening on the armed services side and if you're on the armed services side you have no idea what's happening in terms of foreign military because that's on the state department side . not only that, money. so for reports about how specific money is spent, that's sent to appropriations committee which is not the armed services committee or the foreign relations committee so if you're a staffer who wants to decide that i approved and recommended by moss approved this notification, i would like the birdseye view of this how this programis everything we're doing with his partner militarily or the government or the country. there is no answer . because dod doesn't, is not required to track the program or how it sendsits money or how it evaluates program the same way the state department is doing in different committees on any given day are getting different reports . finally,what's the point of all of this ? isn't it time what we doing at the military security cooperation defense level a broader effect or policy
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outcome? who has responsibility over that mark it's great that dod got this one reorganization of how it does things under the fy 17 national defense authorization, but also because dod every year is a must pass the legislation. every year no matter what commerce is going to pass that defense authorization area does anyone know the last time there was an authorization act passed for the state department -mark actually, there was a little one in 93, 94 but the point is 9394. what are you guys doing -mark so this is a challenge and some of this is about the hill we want to force the state department and the barbecue joint planning, we're going to have to work together with members of congress to come together with an authorization and actually directs the state department to do this and directs the defense department to pay attention to the state department and
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right now it's highly personality dependent and program dependent so if you have a fabulous manner at centcom, maybe you get that joint planning but maybe program dependent, not because there's legislation or because it's institutionalized that this planning happens at the baseline . i'm going to spend the rest of my comments talking about executive versus legislative tensionwhich affects how congress conducts oversight. at its core, in my view , congress sees security cooperation and building partnership capacityas an area of leverage . and that should be leveraged to affect behavioral change. in general often on the executive branch side when advocating for specific programs under the security cooperation or building partner capacity umbrella, the sense is those elation chips gained on the specific on the ground near term objectives are ends into themselves and not necessarily tied into a broader strategic objective or something that can be leveraged or taken away if
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you don't see behavioral change. so two questions here or two issues. one, the buy with and through model is actually working in many contexts in the sense that we now have plenty of partners in the middle east by us equipment. use us equipment and apply us military training to address their securitychallenges . what you are now hearing from capitol hill is they don't like the way in which our partners are addressing their own security challenges. a good example is saudi arabia and yemen in a coalition that they form with a military plan toexecute in yemen . regardless of views on what is taking place in yemen at its core, this is actual security cooperation working. we have partners using our equipment and training to do something that they perceived to be a security challenge with very minimal help from us. another example is uae and egypt and libya. same thing security challenges they perceive that we're not addressing, they're
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taking our equipment and our training and attempting to train others in libya to address the challenge so that they don't have to bethere in large forces themselves . so now, the debate on capitol hill my view as migrated to should we be doing security cooperation and how do we do security cooperation because us origin equipment and training is being used in ways that are more destabilizing to the region and that is the core of the debate that we have to move forward . some of the candy address and if we were to institutionalize this broader notion of time, what we're doing is a security cooperation and legal and operational level . and secondly, how does building ownership capacity in the short termtied to this long-term goal of the united states ? this is where issues, every single day in how congress is conducting oversight of these programs. for example, is our training, the people that we trained for the equipment that we
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sold or transferred in use to violate human rights? to suppress internal repression or civil society. civilian casualties, civilian protection issues. skewing the balance of power away from civilian led institutions in certain countries? how do you evaluate the effectiveness of these issues and how transparent are those recipients so a great example is unused monitoring. we are not in yemen so we don't know how or equipment being used and it's hard to have frank conversations with ourpartners about how they're using our equipment . transparency. you want to know where our equipment is being stored. is our defense technology being protected and what depot? where? how many. who has access other than us
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and our recipient country. these are challenges we are working through and often when the executive branch is talking to congressional staffers they don't have good answers to these issues which flowsdown the process . because these programs are so large compared to what we're doingon the civilian side you constantly see congress attempting to condition these . to mitigate our moderate maybe defensive weapons to a certain country but we're not going to sell authentic weapons. we will give to you this amount of money but were going to put conditions on it and make the state department great your homework . all these things at the end , just undermine the intent of these programs because we haven't found better ways of engaging. so i'm going to leave it there for now. and back over to eric. >> got a few minutes left for questions from the audience so if i could, please identify yourself and make sure there's a? atthe end of your questions and we will try to get as many in as we can . i'm sorry. we've got lots of time. sorry.
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[inaudible] >> you identified some things that i'm fine with in terms of strategy needs. advisers who accompany the forces, training, air support but it also requires trust between the two partners and while maybe there is not a specific political commitment about what might occur at the end of the rainbow, some sensethe united states is a reliable partner . there have met now than two occasions the us has blindsided the stf, december 18 when president trump said we were getting out and recently when he said we were moving forces back from the safe zone without any warning of the kind. and my question is can the relationship with the stf,
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has been permanently injured? be sustained and what would it take at this juncture given everything that's transpired to make this an effective and secure relationship going forward. >> that's an excellent question, it would seem that at this particular point that we've made it very hard for them to have a partnership relationship with us . because of this recent policy decision. so that certainly puts a lot of tension in. whether it's irretrievably broken i don't know. there are certainly democratic forces in my view demonstrated this result to be resilient in this. we thought in two december that this was a breaking point for us and it wasn't really managed to get through this. i thought that when there was rhetoric related to earlier
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intentions to come across the border, i thought this would be the breaking point . i thought when there was an incursion into africa, i thought this wouldbe the breaking point . and they weren't really i think one of the things we learn on this is our partners are very resilient. they don't have many options. maybe that makes them more resilient that they continue to do this. i do know that from my own experience, that they felt very strongly. they had options. it was very common knowledge that our democratic forces, leadership talk to everybody. everybody in the country, whether it was regime, the russians, the iranians though they have options and yet despite all that theykept coming back . so i don't know if it is more , if it's truly broken or not. it does not look like it's moving in the right direction at thispoint from my perspective . i think where that, i think
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for at least them, it's some very difficult choices moving forward here. in terms of how they try to resolve this situation. >> i think the president was very clear in terms of that we did not support this turkish operation in here so perhaps the united states and other countries of the world should be very directly about this and about their concern with this. as we tried to cut john in our article, the syrian democratic forces provided to service the many countries in the world. either sacrifice on the battlefield, by the fact that they have secured fighters and they have safeguarded their family members for a long time. and while there may be some
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assistance to be gained with this, they are bearing the responsibility for the world . so i am well aware of the interest here and turkey turkey's legitimate concerns about their own security but i think perhaps what could be done is that international communities, speaking more directly about their concerns on this and trying to limit what is being done and try to get another level where this could actually be discussed or addressed in another way out in a military operation . >> just so there's no confusion over what we all mean capability and capacity, i think the distinction is quite important and lies at the heart of this whole discussion. capability is the ability to shoot straight and we had some successes as has mentioned with the cps. whether it's with the kurds, lebanese armed forces. the ability to do that on a consistent basis, so the way you test that is if you pull
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the plug on support, us support, whether they can do this on their own and the answer to that unfortunately is that most of them if not all of them cannot do this on their own area that's the challenge we all face here. they have to graduate at some point us support area and this is what i think we've all been trying to discuss here in the senate. >> questions over here. >> i represent the people democratic party here in the us . my question is for general votel. the study just issued a report in which one of the many recommendations was that in order to continue working with the stf and also sustain the strategic alliance with turkey, the us needed to
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invest more in trying to bring the pkk and the turkish government back to the negotiating table because we know that when this is happening between 2013 and 2015, the turkish government was meeting syrian kurdish officials in on,, adjoining waikiki operations moved the shop from one place to another and so my question is, could and should the us work harder to bring the pkk, turkish government back to the negotiating table with a focus on we just had an opinion piece by one of the leaders of the pkk in the washington post inwhich he said that his movement is ready for this . >> thank you. i think the answer is yes and it shouldn't just be the united states, should the other countries . that should be trying to help with this as well. it's not just in our interests but it's in the interest of many countries here to try to resolve some of these long-standing tensions and trying to bring some level of stability so i
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think there are mechanisms out there that could be used whether it's going through some of the iraqi groups that share a good relationship with turkey. and using that as a mechanism. i think it's always better if we are talking and we're getting to that. so i think yes, the united states, but i think others should be part of this as well. this is in the interest of more than just the united states for this issue to be resolved. >> in the back. >> thank you, joyce better with the national. my question is about the operation and how long you see itgrowing ? why is it an event like here, these casualties, do you see any lines fortification? >> so i don't know.
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i don't have any other independent source of information telling me how the campaign is going and how it's proceeding. i think time will tell with this. i don't have any unique insights on this. i'm seeing a lot of the same reporting where all seeing and the same reportingthat everybody is and it's coming through the various media channels and other things . though i don't know if we know exactly how this can play out. but to your other question, i think my response is this. that this area was relatively stable. and so interjecting now this level of conflict into it risks that stability. and again, i don't know that that contributes to the
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overall objective that is going on. there are a variety of things we have attempted to do in working with our turkish allies here to try to resolve them. many of you are familiar with this discussion of the so-called safe zone or security mechanisms as i refer to them which are designed to try to address the different interests inthe area. this is a pretty complex problem . turkey has very legitimate interests here about securing their own border and keeping their people safe. at the same time, the people of northeast syria have legitimate interests in terms of being stable and safe in their homes and being able to move forward with their lives and the us and us-led coalition have valid interests in making sure that an organization like isis can't research. what we're trying to do is with the security mechanism looking at how we can best address all those interests and create the very best
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situation we can and likely that is going to require compromise. no one is going to be completely 100 percent satisfied with the answer,but when you have these into different interests , i don't want to say they're competing but there are different interests that are represented, it makes it very difficult to do that so i think what you have to do is you have to try to pursue things like security mechanisms. maybe that's a joint operations center or patrol of surveillance. getting some of the kurdish fighters and positions offthe border. eliminating some of that . that was all designed to do and in the end, that was not enough for the government of turkey.this is a very, very difficult situation here. >> i think ken and dana both
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wanted to comment on the questions. >> i think the bigger question here is whether or not turkish operations actually set the conditions for the next cycle of conflict so there's a lot of questions here no entity, turkey nor the united states nor the stf can answer at this point in time. i think it was not just about whether isis gained a base to research in northern syria, it's whathappens to all the pop-up detention centers . all across area or eastern syria that are not right in the area that turkey has identified as its near-term security objective but the stf will not have the capacity to continue to maintain custodyas they shift north. another one his refugees . if turkey as president erdogan has discussed moves refugees into this area that are not ethnically respect to their homes, what happens to all that property and those
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implications there? i highly doubt that assad and ran are going to sit on the sidelines while this goes on. so what happens there and what are the implications of that and i would say looking at assad, russia and iran, we know what it looks like and it's pretty ugly. and at least to many more civilian casualties which then creates the next cycle of violence and we know isis is driving that violence. >> i'll pick up on dana!. she's absolutely right. when you look at these, it's wars historically, these limited interventions don't work. they very, very rarely produce a positive outcome for the country trying it. the israelis magnificent military, how many times did intervene in lebanon to try to accomplish objectives? it doesn't work. what you find it over and over again is it sucks them
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into the conflict and turkey as far greater political and economic issues israel. israel is a very strong state that's able to withstand the negative externalities side of interventions of lebanon. it's not at all clear that turkey under erdogan at this moment has anything like the same resilience so whatever the rationale in the short term, i agree with general votel. i can understand whyfrom their perspective they feel the need to do this . when you take a historical perspective on civil war, we've seen this movie so many different times. the actors change, the ending doesn't. >> yes. >>. [inaudible] how does this turkish operation change and
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what would you recommend should be the priority from the united states government going forward in terms of conflict management? >> so it looks like what's happening now means the recommendations were quickly thrown in the trash but what we consistently said is working bilaterally with turkey and then the us acting as a mediator and confidence builder to work with the sdf, to take steps that would address turkish security concerns was working at this point in time and forestalling the risk of a turkish incursion which a consensus as a group was as turkish incursion into northern syria at this point would give isis the opportunity to completely reconstitute. we already know even though it's been out from a
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territorial perspective, it's transitioned to an insurgency continuing to threaten local communities and those communities needed time to rebuild and with this operation the sdf would be focused on protecting their families and communities means we don't have are capable local partner on the ground giving up pressure on isis and at the same time the group argues the us military through the sdf in one third of syria was tremendous us leverage to affect the ultimate outcome of the underlying causes of conflict through a political process because there is no military solution here just a few weeks ago at the un general assembly there was an announcement of a breakthrough, to tune soon to tell whether it's going to work but the formation of a constitutional committee under the un security council resolution 2254 talking about what the end of the syrian conflict would look like and it was diplomacy and
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mediation and if you have all the stakeholders in the conflict arguing at the table rather than battling out on the ground i would argue that is a good thing both for syrian civilians for the region and for us national security interests . at one third of syria the us controlled was tremendous leverage and now we don't have it. and we have most likely undermined whatever credibility we had left which the group found as we travel the region was severely damaged from the december 2018 announcement about theus drawing down its forces . >>. [inaudible] i wanted to thank the panel for an accurate assessment and it's become even more somber. our strategy calls for a global competition with russia and china and i like you to evaluate what we're doing in terms of that global competition in the region. putin seems to be everywhere, he's in saudi arabia now, 400
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churches while the chinese do not have a military component , the chinese are also breaking deals in the uae, etc. etc. but how would you grade america's strategic competition with russia and china in the region right now? >> you want to start off? >> go ahead, ken. >> give us about a half. is there an f plus western mark. >> we're not. and to me it's striking. at one level i think back to thousand 10. and in the middle east nobody talks about russia in 2010. russia wasn't a player in the middle east we let them back in. there are now a major player in the middle east all over the place . and let's think alittle bit about what's been going on right now in the gulf . we're the united states is as fast as we can backtracking from our commitments to
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allies that go back 45, 40 years, 75 years the pending on when you want to date things. president trump has announced that the iranians can attack the gcc states all they like, all iranians like as long as they don't attack us. that's a fundamental the trail of our informal alliance with the gc states in a fundamental the trail of the carter doctrine and what i would call the reagan corollary to the carter doctrine. they completely upended things. it's terrifying them. they are going to be looking for alternatives and i think theyknow the russians and chinese art perfect alternatives to us . but they need somebody. and if we're not going to get, they need to look for help wherever they can. i'm old enough, i know you're old enough to remember in 1987 when the kuwaitis came to us and asked us if we like
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to escort their ships and the initial responsibility was no, we don't want to fight the iranians so what do the kuwaitis do? they asked the russians and the russians said yes before the police could finish the sentence. going to put our fleet into the persian gulf, the beating heart of the economy.sign us up, how do we get there to mark and all of a sudden the reagan administration realized that wasn't such a great idea and okay, maybe we do need to take on the iranians. we're throwing that right out the window . >> somebody else. >> you very much for your time. i don't know how would you describe us policy about the kurds and in your opinion, in your view, which kind of benefit could the president
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who made the decision to give the green light to this very safe area in syria, thank you. >> i think it's fair to say that we got an issue without consistency here in terms of how we're approaching that, the kurds and particularly our partners in syria. and we certainly have been trying to approach this in a very direct manner. and have been citing partnerships with tacticaland operational level . but i think the key piece here is perhaps we didn't have full alignment all the way up and down thechain and i think that's very critical to this . and you know, to put the decisions that the president
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has made, the policy shifts he's put in play, that's come front and center here. so i don't think there's any other way of describing whether it's inconsistent or complete . it's conflicted here in terms of that. so i think certainly in there are challenges with that. >>. >>. >> what lessons can we draw from the fact that iran was able to attack saudi facilities and mass 25 drones and cruise missiles? what lessons should we draw about the protection of saudi arabia and us ability to even protect its own ships and assets in the gulf? given iran's proven ability to carry out an incredible
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stealth attack? >> i think there are several lessons here. [inaudible] the learning curve is turning much faster now. when you look at, in my life i want to take you through a lengthy discussion on this but i look at my own, our own development of unmanned aerial vehicles and how that developed over the last 18 years essentially from 2001 to the current time. what we see is we've seen the iranians with their proxies, the huthis or whoever that happens to be, taking advantage of the pace of technology that's out there and the learning it's done and turning that muchquicker. that is i think 18 thing for us to understand . that changes the dynamic in
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the region in terms of ability to protect ourselves or our partners, to protect themselves or the critical infrastructure. certainly we've seen not just in increase in quantity but certainly quality of iranian missile systems over the last number of years and this has changed some of the fundamental assumptions about how we would operate in this area. our ability to steam into the arabian gulf and conduct operations, that would be a false assumption at this point. technology and these capabilities that iran has developed i think has changed the equation for us and they become again, i don't know. there hasn't been a public accounting for exactly what happened in terms of that and i don't have any particularly unique insights into that . it certainly highlights the level of savviness here in terms of how they are employing this and their
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studying and taking their time and looking forways to do this . so i think it raises the stakes in the region. highlights the role that technology is having in this and i think it also highlights that iran continues to push for redlines and trying to push up against us to find out what they can get away with trying to understand where it is and it brings us to the next level here. i think there's a variety of lessons that we can take out of that. >> thank you captain. there are two issues i'd like to add on to what general votel said. the first one is these technologies are very difficult to protect against. my guess is that we would have a hard time coping with them. there's the issue of a lot of the saudi assets were focused to the south but the truth is as general votel has said where drones are going, it's
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very difficult for contemporary current day air defenses to deal with. these things are very small. they fly slow. a fly low to the ground. they can follow terrain. they're very precise. it's why i think on a related .4 years ago i was saying to people we were having debate over the joint comprehensive plan of action and saying we were making you many ballistic missiles because the u payees are surpassing the ballistic missile in terms of dangers there creating and we shouldn't get obsessed with the fact he ballistic missiles are not in the jcpoa. these things are difficult to deal with. second belated point that pivots off something general votel said, our defense of the goal was never predicated on pure defense. it never has been. with the possible exception of the six months between
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august 1990 and february 1991 , did i say we've never had the military forces in the gulf to stop any iranian attack. you know this well from your own work. the truth of the matter is that sally, the goal will infrastructure is so enormous, the gulf is so big iranians that always stopped past us. the real deterrent came from the expectations of american retaliation. of an american response. and what really happened and the key thing to take away was the iranians did the attack because they saw the non-responses in june and july. and they came away and clearly calculated that they maintain plausible deniability, that there was little likelihood that the us would respond this time they didn't even figure the attack, they escalated it and we've done the exact same
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thing and my guess is the hardliners who are running the government in tehran on looking at saying we're telling you these guys are a paper tiger. they'renot going to respond and if you're not going to respond ,we're not defending the goal . >> that's my point which is, the opportunity to now rethink the deterrence architecture in the middle east. this is the strategic plan now. this entire episode. the reason why we have such a firepower is precisely to deter the fact that we went a couple of weeks ago and since we failed, clearly this is now ample time to rethink that. and it's not just about how many forces you have orhow much equipment you have,it's also about intention and policy . all that is related . >> but come over here for this one. >> party foundation, i want to ask you a question and
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first of all, russia and iran and their former apprentices, when they were asked the question advise over to go ahead, be my guess. [inaudible] how do you assess that with russia and china? >> and do they have the kind of systems that are more adaptedto the needs . >> i guess my comment to the first part here of your question is where we pull back, where we choose not to partner with somebody, where we choose not to provide capabilities we should expect that they will seek other
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people and that's the world, if we're willing to except that was, we're willing to accept that risk but i think that's the case. i don't think my experience, my observation in the region is this is where we pull back from people in terms of this. where we have made it difficult to get system to them. and they have tried to fill those points. >> security cooperation, i know centcom is predisposed to using tools to gain access but security cooperation is about a lot of those things is not just about the equipment that they would get from the russians and chinese . it's about beating all those things to the russians and chinese and then it becomes a question of can we afford doing that in places like the eastern med or the lavage or in the gulf. if you are to effectively prosecute the global power competition which is the new marching orders in the
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pentagon is not just about equipment, it's also the relationship, the access and overflight because exactly what the general said, [inaudible] >> there is a perception issue and there's the actual implementation of the systems. for cooperation and to be clear, i'm not advocating that we change all these things overnight but our system is complicated so can first talked about we have to recognize what our partners want from us and not just superimpose our system on them. a china or russia doesn't try to change the hierarchy of military, etc.. human rights, conditionality. russia and china don't have
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parliaments, they don't have anything like our congress. there is no human rights, there's no conditionality, no congressional requirement for a quality of military edge to make sure that whatever you're selling or training to others in the region is balanced against israel and israel's security. there's no concern from russia and china like we have about oversight to avoid corruption, whom, etc.. how you use the systems, russia and china also don't care so when we think about our competitive advantage, there's a whole system we created that sometimes makes us less competitive and that is something we have to balance but i will say for the study group, having traveled throughout the region, what is fascinating is how so many in the region believe the path to peace or what they want goes through moscow and then you have a conversation about what has moscow committed to you that they have delivered on and
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it's always a blank stare. there's nothing there, but the perception being even if us military equipment is the best, even if our military colleges, warcolleges are the best and people still want to come here, even if our training is the best , even if our access to international financial institutions and organizations is the best, the perception game right now is that you'rebetter off looking to moscow or beijing . >> .. . >> we think shale in the short
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term it is a fifth-grade understanding. yes we don't import our oil from the gulf. even though we never really did it was much less it was the entire international reliance on the persian gulf. right now 25 percent of the oil concern - - consumed in the world comes from the gulf. go look at the new us energy information forecast. that exportation - - the expectation google from 25 percent up at 31 percent. they expect our production to peak in the next decade and then decline after that. we are not getting less dependent on gulf oil we are getting more. the total consumption of oil is expected to go from 100 million barrels per day
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about 127 million barrels per day so there is this idea we don't have to worry that the world will be less dependent is absolutely wrong. the russians are not interested to have a stable oil market they want the price to go up. they couldn't care less for what we have learned that is the biggest threat to oil production and they are perfectly glad to help their allies kill each other and their own people. that creates instability. the chinese theoretically could take on our role and i hope someday they will because they do have the same interest but they don't act like it. or that they don't understand what i just said to you and often that is very pernicious. they do not yet understand the importance of what that means
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that we remain irreplaceable for now. lastly somebody will fill the vacuum it will be the iranians not the russians or the chinese. when we pull back it terrifies our allies. the moral hazard argument that has been around a couple decades again and again in the middle east. and now they say we have to come back to the table. they attack each other. we see it over and over again and we see it happen now. our role in the region has introduced instability by making it difficult for adversaries to attack allies to reassure that they don't have to fend for themselves.
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that is how we are doomed for time to come. >> thank you for the presentation. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] after 31 years of the united states congress representing the people of westchester, queens and the bronx i have decided not to seek reelection in 2020. it is my deep honor and
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privilege to serve my community and country and i will always be grateful to the people who have entrusted me to represent them.
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>> first of all it's important for the american people to understand this is constant. they did not stop they were actively involved in 2016 as we saw through hacking and stealing e-mails from the dnc from john podesta and others on the clinton campaign and tried to infiltrate the electoral system. they put out false information. then they were very active on social media to pit americans against each other with domestic issues whether racer immigratio immigration. there whole thing is to discredit our democracy to cause people to hate one another in turn against one another and to weaken us from within.
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to mark the occasion to federal appeals court judges talk about what the nation's highest court was like when they were law clerks there and they discuss recent supreme court decisions. this symposium took place at the george washington university law school in washington dc. what the nation's highest court was like when they were law clerks there and they discuss recent supreme court decisions. this symposium took place at the george washington university law school in washington dc. school in washington dc.

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